Saturday, March 31, 2012

PinUps and Pinspirations (Vol. 4)

PinUps: My Top 5 Pins of the Week
(well, lately)

1.Such truth!

2.This just made me laugh. One of my absolute favorite "wrong songs" combined with my love of reading. What's not to love?

3. Dear Somebody. Next time I'm going to have a baby, I want this wrap. Light fabric for hot weather!
Source: via Hanna on Pinterest

4.My birthday present from Chris!

5. My un-birthday present from Chris! Attached to a bouquet of tulips. He's such a good husband.
Source: via Hanna on Pinterest

Pinspiration: (i.e. a Pin I've actually used in some way recently)

OK, this stuff is amazing. It is "ice cream" made almost entirely out of bananas. Frozen bananas. Stick them in the blender, blend until creamy. Add a sprinkle of cocoa powder. A dollop of peanut butter (if desired). Enjoy. So good. Cannot even begin to describe how good this is! And very minimal banana taste. I'm not normally a huge banana flavored fan, but this ends up so light and with the bit of cocoa covering (you could leave the cocoa out as well), it's yummy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dabyook - March 30, 2012

Outside my window...the air smells of freshly mowed grass thanks to Chris. A bit muggy out. Can't imagine what it's going to be like in a few more months!

I am thinking...that I have only one more day before I'm off.

I am thankful for...small blessings. Like having three of the girls gone this weekend. Even though it only affects us tonight and tomorrow, cutting the numbers down by half may be my saving grace till we're off! I love them all, but there are moments I need my sanity back. Another blessing is that one of the high school girls from another cottage (who is fantastic with kids) needed some responsibility in exchange for some rewards. After discussion it was decided to put her with us most days for a few hours (especially during the week, evening hours) to be a "mother's helper". She's sweet and helpful and really is very trustworthy with the toddlers, so that has helped a lot.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...oh my goodness. I barely know where to start with Blueberry. The language explosion just continues. She's mastering concepts and phrases that I barely even realized we've taught her. She laps it all up and then wants more. Of course she's been an absolute little beast the last week with being so ill (can't blame her--just exhausted from it!), but in between fussing times she is a joy and a darling. We're discovering her definite introversion slant though. A lot of times when she's being really fussy or cranky at us, if we put her in her crib for a "time out" she's actually happy for quite awhile. I think she needs the break but doesn't necessary have the courage to just run off by herself? I could be projecting. Language explosion aside, she's not very good at explaining her own feelings yet...but she'll sit in there and read a book. Look around. Talk to the stuffed animals. And when you ask her if she wants out and she's not ready, she will emphatically tell you "no!"

From the a whole lot of minimalistic cooking. Well...minimalistic in terms of feeding 10-11 people daily.

I am wearing...pajama bottoms and a lounge-around top. Bare feet. Need to redo my toes. Heather gave me a pretty blue polish for my birthday. Must use! Maybe we'll have a pedicure day tomorrow with the girls.

I am creating...a present for some people. I think they will like it. Must get it done soon.

I am be staying home next week. We were going to Texas, but the past 12 days have changed that. It has been absolutely insane. First Blueberry getting croup, then it turning into pneumonia. She's getting better except for this awful cough and runny nose. Chris and I have both caught the head-cold/sore-throat part of her sickness. We're exhausted from having worked 12 days. We got two new girls in this week. Butterfly (the 2 year old) is sweet but two. Not really problems there. The 13 year old, who I think I'm going to call Snail has her own special set of chaos and challenges she brings to the cottage. So that's been interesting. We've also had all meals in the cottage the last two weeks. Only had to cook all of them this week, but it's always exhausting. Oh and Mama Bear went and badly sprained her ankle Monday which meant a very late ER visit (I went to bed at 2am for various reasons) and extra doctor visit (because we hadn't been to see the doctor enough this shift), and now extra care. It never rains but it pours, right? Anyhoo...the upshot of it all is that as we are both wiped out and while seeing the family in Austin would be a delight and joy, we feel like we'd be sleeping half the time and not really getting a whole out of the trip, not to mention being tired for the next shift on and our following mini-trip to Eureka Springs. We will reschedule for May or so because we desperately want to go! But on the whole, I think this is the more sensible course of action. Not to mention the added bonus of not sharing our germs with more people.

In my mailbox today.. .was a package with some of Blueberry's Easter basket stuff. I was shocked the other day when I started looking for a paint with water book--those things are hard to find!

I am reading.. .The Chalet School series. Well some of them. There are something like 60 books total. It's an old young-adult, girlie series that I read some of growing up. Very British. Any ways, was looking up something the other day and ran across the name of it. Decided to have a look on paperbackswap, and sure enough they had some! So I ordered them and have really been enjoying them. They are excellently written, easy reading without some of trash and lack of intellect I find in so many young-adult (and adult for that matter) literature these days. Will definitely work on adding some more to that series (probably not all 60!) as those are books I would encourage Blue to read when she's old enough.

Also am in the middle of Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Frazier. Love her as an author. Fascinating historical reads but not dry. She somehow has a way of writing history that enlivens the facts and telling of it all. Have one on Mary Queen of Scots when I'm done with Marie Antoinette. Same author. Hope it's as good.

I am get better quickly so these six days off will be truly rejuvenating. We're hoping to go to the zoo again with Blueberry if we can all get better. And I'm crossing my fingers that I might get further on a few of these lingering household projects that I haven't done!

I am hearing...X-Men 3 playing in the cottage living room (the girls are having a movie night). We tend to not cater to their more violent sides, but they've done well with this series. And given the choice between some of the garbage they want to watch (and apparently have been allowed to watch in the past), we're very, very controlling!

Around the house...things feel out of sorts. Not in the main cottage but in our home. Don't like it. Been so tired, gave up trying to keep up and just let some things slide.

One of my favorite things...fuzzy pajama pants that are slightly to big on me. Such comfort!

A few plans for the rest of the week: sleep. get better. pay the bills. read. sleep. take blue on walks. cuddle. pet the dog. watch a movie. sleep. hang up pictures. sleep.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

Spring has come! (the background building is the favored hotel of mob boss Al Capone :)

Playing in the "hot springs" of Hot Springs.

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What do I do?

My little family has grown again. In the last two days we have added a two year old (Butterfly) and a 13 year old (nickname as yet undetermined). We are now at 8 children--including our Blueberry. Two toddlers and six pre-teen/early teen girls. While I think these two new ones will settle in fine, the initial transition is always exhausting. And add into the craziness that all the girls have been home this week due to Spring Break at Blueberry has caught either croup or just a nasty, nasty cold, and I find myself sitting here in the mostly dark at 10:06 with sore, aching feet, watery eyes (evil pollen-induced allergies), blissfully enjoying the first few minutes of real quiet I feel like I've had in days.

Someone recently asked me what it is Chris and I do (as in jobs). Answering this question feels so complex sometimes.

The short answer is that we are paid to be parents to foster/orphan/at-risk kids who are needing a stable, secure, home.

But that's the short answer.

What is it we do? We get up in the morning and get little (and bigger) girls ready for school/day care/church/days at home. We cook. We clean. We give medications. We monitor chores. We harass girls into cleaning their rooms. We go on outings. We tutor. We bandage cut fingers and wounded hearts. We do laundry. We shop. We document interactions with children. We drive them to school/doctor's appointments/church/parks/outings... We play. We hold weeping children struggling to understand why their lives are so difficult. We discipline. We redirect. We record what we feed these children. We advocate. We answer hundreds of questions every day. We teach them to be independent. We teach them what security and interdependence of a family looks like. We get insulted and loved on. We get yelled at and sought after. We read stories. We do devotions. We pray. We lecture. We cuddle. We go on walks. We are mom and dad.

And in all of that we have to find the time to clean our own house, love on our child, pay bills, do laundry, maintain friendships, maintain our relationship, and do all the normal things that comprise a normal working families life.

There are days I look at this "job" and am amazed that I am being paid to do this. And then there are days when I look at this "job" and count off how I've earned every penny.

So what is that I do? I'm a parent. And I defy anyone to name a more challenging, exhausting, exhilarating, heart-wrenching, joy-bringing job in the world.

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...